Labour Day and Minimum Wage Education
Labour Day Parades are attracting fewer people for a number of reasons. Some workers are scared because of the cellphone, which allows us to shoot videos and send them to the whole world in a second. Jobs are getting fewer, so kowtowing to the Emperor (the boss) becomes a better alternative.
Labour unions and shop stewards are also a problem. They are very good at giving workers the little book with the collective bargaining agreement, but seldom explain every line in this legal document. If shop stewards do not understand it, how will workers know their rights?
Labour Day Parade numbers in North America and Europe are also diminishing because there are fewer workers. They were laid off when investors sent manufacturing and clothing industry jobs to China, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh, countries with a lower minimum wage. Everything you are wearing and most items in your kitchen, bedroom or bathroom come from there.Minimum wage education should not be restricted to Labour Day Parades. It should be on-going. Union bosses should have a performance appraisal like all workers, and minimum wage education should be part of it.
The minimum wage has a long and painful history. How many shop stewards know it? Men and women died for it. Their legacy should live on because investors do not want 100 percent profit. They want double, on the backs of workers.By: Nonqaba waka Msimang.